‘There was a time I used to look into my father's eyes
In a happy home I was a king I had a golden throne
Those days are gone, now the memories are on the wall
I hear the songs from the places where I was born’
Students across the nation are heading home for Christmas, back to the family and friends they’ve just spent the last ten weeks living apart from. Back to being under the house rules they have lived without, back to expectations, sibling dynamics, childhood bedrooms now housing independent adults. Memories on the walls.
It isn’t an easy shift, moving in and out of home between university terms. Tensions build, the frustration at not being known or understood for who you have become at uni lurks in between the dishwasher and the dog-walking and the assumption that you’ll spend your evenings in with the family now you’re back. Yet coming back to the familiar can also give us space to sleep, to not have to see a million and one friends all the time, to go to church and remember the brilliant family we have there who we might have taken for granted before we left.
Christmas will be brilliant. Christmas will be hard. Christmas will be life-giving. Christmas will be draining. Christmas will be many things for the students of the UK, but the response to Christmas has always been the same. For over two thousand years, since God made himself knowable to love humanity back into relationship with their maker, the response to Christmas is to worship.
‘Don’t you worry, don’t you worry child,
See heaven’s got a plan for you,
Don’t you worry, don’t you worry now.’
As I watched the video of the last performance Swedish House Mafia did to the UK of their song Don’t You Worry Child (live), all I could think was ‘worship’. The beautifully shot, incredibly edited film just captures thousands upon thousands of people worshipping. Most of them will be our generation, all of them are worshipping. We are created to worship. The question isn’t will we worship whilst we walk this earth, the question is, what will we worship, what will we make our god?
This Christmas, you might be in ‘a happy home’, or that might just be ‘memories on the wall’. Either way, the call is not to worry, we know that ‘heaven’s got a plan for you’ because God made you, out of love, deliberately. Our experiences this holiday will differ, our response can be the same. We worship, as we were created, and the focus of this worship is Jesus, who came to earth to find us, who turned the lights on and spoke truth.
‘Don’t you worry, don’t you worry now.’